Maybe it’s the snaking queue or the neon sign that glows above its staggering array of dishes, each plate stacked on top of the other – either way, there’s no denying that Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang has presence. Quality is what you get in Hajjah Mona’s nasi padang. The beef in the rendang is tender and sits in a luscious spicy coconut stew, milder dishes like the opor ayam (chicken in coconut gravy) and gulai daun singkong (cassava leaves stew) are full of flavour. Some of the best-sellers include rawon (tender meat chunks in aromatic buah keluak gravy), asam pedas (a spicy fish stew) and limpa rendang (spleen in coconut stew). The rawon recipe is based on the original East Java version, where the dark broth is thicker and more savoury. The asam pedas lauk is tangy and herbal, and the spleen fully absorbs all the spices it’s cooked in.